Suggestions for £500ish? AV to hifi.

mhuk05

Well-known Member
I'm a bit lost as to what to do....

I want to separate my AV into AV and hifi. My speakers are Ruark Talisman II (although these may be Crusaders shortly), driven by a Marantz SR5400 (part of my surround sound with Dialogue II as a centre).

Now while it sounds great for movies (especially ones with a good soundtrack) the sound is a little uninspiring with CD music.

If I were to use the fronts solely for music what are my options? Is a pre-amp and power amp the way forward? If it is, what are good brands to look for (used) and models, for about £500? The CDP will be a Marantz KI CD63.

Bit lost as my only other experience of "hifi" is CDP, integrated amp and speakers. Will a pre-amp/ power amp sound significantly better than Talisman II/ CD63/ Pioneer A400?

Advice, suggestions, possibilties - all happily received.

Thanks :)

edit: too much waffle?

SUMMARY:

Please recommend a pre-amp/ power amp that costs aorund £500 (used) that will work well with Ruark Talisman IIs.
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
Don't all shout at once ;)

Any opinions on the Musical Fidelity or Audiolab 8000Q/ 8000P?
 

crobo

Well-known Member
Not quite sure what your plans are. All I can say is that going from good 7.1 receivers to an Arcam integrated stereo amp (FMJ A22 or Diva A85) gave the most startling improvement with stereo. These can be had for £350-450 used and you can link them to the pre-outs of the receiver and switch them between driving the fronts of a 5.1 setup or direct to the CDP for stereo. Many people do this and it certainly works - to the extent that one tends to dismiss integrated receivers altogether for stereo use (unless they have improved in the last year or two). The nice thing is that it is always easy to sell this type of Arcam amp on because the market is always there.

Alternatively you could consider the Arcam AVR300 which is more reasonable nowadays (£750-800 used?) and apparently much better than most for stereo duties (but still not as good as most of their integrated stereo amps).
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
Not quite sure what your plans are
Me neither, still looking at the options and trying to get familiar with the brands, prices and specs. I'll have a look at your suggestions. :thumbsup:

Actually my plans are to get a proper 2 channel setup for music. If it can be integrated into my AV then that's a bonus.
 

crobo

Well-known Member
Seriously, this works very well. You use the receiver to drive the centre and rears, and have the stereo amp drive the fronts. You connect the inputs of this amp to the L/R preouts of the AV receiver and with the Arcam amps you can use a single switch to have it in 'processor mode' (a bit like a poweramp) as part of a 5.1 setup, or normal mode for CD replay. The one drawback, at least with Arcam amps, is that you have to adjust the volume control when you switch because you need a relatively high volume setting to have it matched with the centre and rears for 5.1. But you don't have to adjust the volume of the stereo amp during AV use; it just needs to be at the same setting every time so once you have calibrated the sound settings this is pretty simple.
Hope this helps.
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
As is typical here, you start off with a maximum budget. Then spend a few days browsing tinterweb and there goes the budget.

Why am I even bothering to research an Exposure 23 and 28?

Seriously, thanks for the input and ideas- much appreciated.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
I've been watching a Musical Fidelity A3.2 integrated on eBay.It has a processor direct input,same as the Arcams,NADs etc.
Item no.180057602964 if you're interested.
I'm not in anyway connected to the sale BTW,just was watching it as a possible bidder.
Only 3 1/2 hours left though :)
 

joffy1780

Active Member
The one drawback, at least with Arcam amps, is that you have to adjust the volume control when you switch because you need a relatively high volume setting to have it matched with the centre and rears for 5.1. But you don't have to adjust the volume of the stereo amp during AV use; it just needs to be at the same setting every time so once you have calibrated the sound settings this is pretty simple.
Hope this helps.
I don't quite know what you mean here,but with my Alpha 9,you press a switch which fixes the gain for use with a reciever/processor.You don't have to adjust the volume to a certain level,in fact the volume control on Alpha9 is inoperable when the switch is pressed.
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
Cheers for the heads-up Joffy.

How does a Musical Fidelity A3.2CR Pre / Power combo compare to the A3.5?

Haven't seen any A22s listed anywhere although seen a few A32s.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
No idea,if I'm honest.
Like I said I have an Alpha 9 and hope to have a 9P added within the day :smashin: .
Was watching the MF A3.2 as a possible replacement for both,basically for space and convenience,and hopefully a better sound.
Maybe KnightByte could help you out as he has an A3.5 and has auditioned a few pre-power and integrated from the likes of Arcam,Primare,Roksan etc.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
Oh Sevenoaks have an ex-disply A3.5 on their site for £695.
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
Yes I've spoken to KB and read some of his (many) posts. Good info but just gets confusing with all the options...:rolleyes:

I'll wait and see what happens with one of my bids on a pre-amp and take it from there.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
Yes I've spoken to KB and read some of his (many) posts. Good info but just gets confusing with all the options...:rolleyes:
:rotfl: :rotfl: Yes,he does like to type,doesn't he.
 

crobo

Well-known Member
I had an Arcam A22 and MF A3.2 at essentially the same time. They are both very nice amps that cost £1000 new. The MF sound was a little more upfront and slightly brighter than the warmish Arcam sound. Both were in a different league for stereo compared to my Denon A1Se receiver. I assume you can do use the MF3.2 in processor mode (as with the Arcam) but best to check anyway. I had sold my receiver by then.

The Arcam A85 has a very nice sound too and can be had for less money (~£350), although I believe the early models did not have a processor mode possibility.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
I assume you can do use the MF3.2 in processor mode (as with the Arcam) but best to check anyway.
Yeah you can.I downloaded the manual to check:thumbsup:
 

crobo

Well-known Member
Joffy, I just saw the Washington address. I did my first post round there decades ago. Only time I've been attacked by a ferret :D . Ahh, what memories.
 

joffy1780

Active Member
Joffy, I just saw the Washington address. I did my first post round there decades ago. Only time I've been attacked by a ferret :D . Ahh, what memories.
:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: Well I live in Ayton if you know it.I've never owned a ferret,so I can confidently say I'm not guilty of that.
 

mhuk05

Well-known Member
How are Rotel and NAD? Are their pre/ power amp combos any good? Is there a recommended pairing?

Music will be everything from Miles Davis, Eva Cassidy, Faithless, The Strokes, Classical etc.
 

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